Day 135: Pivot Angular Acceleration, FCI, & Limiting Reactants

AP Physics 1: Pivot Angular Acceleration

I am as part of Pivot Interactive’s Chemistry Fellows program.

Students used Pivot Interactives to find a relationship between unbalanced torque and angular momentum for several different bicycle wheels. I had them start by setting up a formula they could use to calculate the angular acceleration from the change in angular position and the time. My 2nd hour had a much easier time with this; I think the difference is they worked yesterday’s problems in small groups and quickly connected this task to some of the problems they’d done. My 4th hour had a sub yesterday who was a former physics teacher that decided to go through the problems as a lecture, so I think those students didn’t have as firm a grasp on the calculations.

pivot unbalanced torque.PNG

Physics: FCI

Students took the Force Concept Inventory as a post-test. We normally give it before moving into simple harmonic motion, so they were a little rusty on thinking with forces, but I’m satisfied with the results.

Chemistry Essentials: Limiting Reactants

Students used nuts, bolts, and washers to start connecting mass to what I’d planned for them to see about limiting reactants yesterday. While both my sections were able to get through today’s activity without trouble, I need to figure out how to adjust for some issues yesterday. My 5th hour is co-taught, so my co-teacher ran the class and the majority of students easily finished yesterday’s activity and had the ideas I wanted them to have at this point. In my 6th hour, the sub decided to go over the answers to the accompanying worksheet as a lecture without projecting the simulation, which my students really struggled to follow. Several students helped themselves to a computer and worked through the activity as intended, and I’m having trouble getting mad at them for defying the sub. I think the activity with the simulation is worth doing, but between demand for the school computers and trying to keep both sections in the same place, I’m not sure how to give my 6th hour time in-class.


Day 134: Problems, Mistakes Whiteboarding, & PhET Limiting Reactants

I had a sub for half the day today, so only saw two of my sections.

AP Physics 1: Problems

Students worked on some problems with angular acceleration. I was at school for my smaller section, and the problems went very smoothly. They worked very independently and I overheard a lot of great discussion and connections to linear motion.

Physics: Mistakes Whiteboarding

I was at school for my only section, so we did some mistakes whiteboarding with Thursday’s problems. Students had some great mistakes and great discussion about the problems. One of the interesting things is when students were asked to sketch a v-t graph and divide it into sections, most groups did before, during, and after, mirroring the way we’d used velocity vs. time graphs during momentum transfer (inspired by Brian Frank). Asking them to tell me about what was happening to the box during each phase was pretty effective at shifting them.

physics fbd mistake.jpg

Chemistry Essentials: PhET Limiting Reactants

I was gone for both sections of this class, so it was a great day for students to use PhET to introduce limiting reactants. My co-teacher sent me a message that the kids who got started got the ideas pretty quickly, but a lot had trouble getting started. The para who supports the class was also out today, so I think some students felt like they didn’t have the support they needed; I need to keep working on how to support my chem students in developing independence in the classroom.

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Day 128: Problems, Tuning Forks, & Stoichiometry

I was on a field trip today, so had a sub.

AP Physics 1: Balanced Torque Problems

Students worked some problems with balanced torques. I wish I’d edited the worksheet to include some problems revisiting forces, but ran out of time last week. I’ll be interested to see if and how my students used the area model I showed them yesterday.

Physics: Tuning Forks

Students did a lab playing with tuning forks to start building some ideas about sound waves. There’s usually some good discussion that I’m a little sorry I missed.

Chemistry Essentials: Stoichiometry

Students started doing stoichiometry by using nuts, bolts, and washers to represent different types of atoms, making it possible for them to “see” how many moles they have and measure the masses very directly.

Day 119: Problems, Lab Practical, & Balancing

I had a sub today.

AP Physics 1: Circuit Problems

I introduced students to Trevor Register’s KVL diagrams yesterday. Today, I had them work on some problems using the diagram and Kirchhoff’s Laws.

Physics: Lab Practical

Students started a lab practical where they using a spring to find an unknown mass two different ways. I gave them some structure that should steer them to use Hooke’s Law, then the period of the spring. I’ll be curious to see how it went.

spring practical.jpg

Chemistry Essentials: Balancing

Students worked on some problems balancing chemical reactions. At my co-teacher’s suggestion, we got some Mathlink cubes for students to use as a manipulative. I’m curious to see how it goes; when I used some on Tuesday, they seemed to help make balancing more concrete for students.

Day 82: Projectile Motion Maps, Bouncy Ball Energy, & Density Refresher

Today was another sub day.

AP Physics 1: Projectile Motion Maps

Students worked on an activity based on Dan Meyer’s “Will It Hit the Hoop?” where they analyze a strobe photo of a basketball. I used this activity in Physics last year, which helped students make good connections to motion maps. I’m hoping the same will happen for my AP students.

Physics: Bouncy Ball Energy

Students started working on my lab to determine what dissipates a bouncy ball’s energy. I got through the opening discussion in one section yesterday, but recorded a short video introducing the lab for the other. Last year, I put together a scaffolded worksheet for students to sketch an assortment of representations and highlight the differences between the competing explanations.

Chemistry Essentials: Density Refresher

The density assessment students took before break was rough, I think at least partly because it was one of the last class periods on the last day of classes. My co-teacher and I decided tomorrow’s assessment will include another shot at density along with gas laws. Today, my co-teacher went over some extra practice on density that students worked on yesterday.


Day 39: Graph Stacks, Vector Addition Diagrams, & Review

AP Physics 1: Graph Stacks

Students worked on sketching stacks of kinematic graphs. I had a sub during my 2nd hour, so I’m not sure yet how it went, but my 4th hour had some great discussions. I’m looking forward to whiteboarding these problems tomorrow.

Physics: Vector Addition Diagrams

Students worked on some problems using vector addition diagrams. I had a sub during my 1st hour, so only got to see things in my 6th hour. A lot of students had trouble with the idea that the arrows on the vector addition diagram need to have the same orientation as the arrows on the free-body diagram, but I think they made progress on the idea.

Chemistry Essentials: Review

After some wrap-up on yesterday’s lab, we did some whiteboarding to review the key ideas that will be on tomorrow’s quiz, including the main atomic models we talked about and key trends on the periodic table.

atomic models.jpg

Day 27: Problems, Interaction Stations, & States of Matter

I had a sub today.

AP Physics 1: Problems

It was a little tricky figuring out what I could leave for students to work on. I ended up giving them some additional problems on impulse and quantitative force diagrams. I ended up giving them their first taste of a goal-less problem and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do.

Physics: Interaction Stations

I usually avoid leaving anything equipment intensive when I have a sub, but we had Brian Frank’s interaction stations on deck for today. The other physics teacher and I try to stay within a day or so of each other, so we set the stations up in his room, then his classes and mine will switch places the hours I have physics.

Chemistry Essentials: States of Matter

Plan A was for my co-teacher to introduce phase changes by having students do a lab making a temperature vs. time graph for lauric acid as it melts and re-freezes. Then, on Tuesday, we found out a fire drill was scheduled for the start of this hour. Since a lot of students in the class really struggle with transitions and with changes to the routine, a sub, plus a fire drill, plus a lab just seemed like a disaster. I ended up putting together a reading assignment from the textbook introducing the three states of matter we’ll be working with.

Day 134: Problems Galore

I had a sub today, so no pictures. All three of my classes worked on problems.

AP Physics: Angular Momentum

I gave students some angular momentum problems. Its been a while since we hit linear momentum hard, so I’ll be curious to see how it went shaking the dust off and translating to angular scenarios. I also threw in some torque problems; on the last quiz, a lot of students weren’t sure what an extended free-body diagram is, so that is something I needed to make sure to revisit.

Physics: Springs & Pendulums

Students did some problems using the equations for the period of a spring and period of a pendulum. Earlier this week, some students were having trouble distinguishing the two formulas, but I think the lab practicals helped. I’m hoping that shows up in how the problems went.

Chemistry Essentials: Percent Yield

Students did some percent yield problems. They look very similar to the stoichiometry problems we’ve been doing, with a step added at the end to calculate percent yield. When I got to school for parent-teacher conferences, I was able to connect with my sub and the para who supports the class, and both told me the problems went very well for the majority of students; they are seeing the connections between what we’ve done previously and the new material. The para also reminded me I need to crack down on students showing their work; a lot of students are frustrated because looking back at their old work isn’t helpful, but they don’t yet see that writing out their work would change that.

Day 40: Ramp Graphs, FBDs, & Card Sort

I ended up home sick today.

AP Physics: Ramp Graphs

Students took a longish quiz, then started working on some problems to sketch graphs and motion maps for objects on a ramp. Since we haven’t actually discussed the ramp lab yet, I’m expecting these problems to be a little tricky. There are enough students currently in calculus that I’m hoping they can help their classmates make sense of the graphs. Regardless, I’ll need to make sure I allow time after the ramp lab discussion to make sense of those problems.

Physics: FBDs

I left students a worksheet of interaction diagrams and free-body diagrams. On my last sub day, very few students attempted the problems, I asked my sub to remind students that I’m after an attempt, not right answers. I also asked the sub to collect papers at the end of the hour so I can see where students are at before class on Monday.

Chemistry Essentials: Card Sort

Since we are starting to talk about elements, I left a card sort activity for students to build a version of the periodic table using cards that represent some of the properties of each element. I asked students to snap a photo of their final sort and upload it to Google Classroom so I can see what they came up with.

card sort.jpg